Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood @HeideGoody @IainMGrant #Extract #LoveBooksTours #Christmas #BlogTour #XmasReads #XmasGifts

Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood
By Heide Goody and Iain M. Grant

Thanks to Love Books for inviting me to the blog tour of Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. It certainly seems to be a very different sort of book for Christmas, so I am pleased to be hosting an extract from it today, especially since it is freezing and all wintry where I live and is the 1st December today.

About the Authors

Heide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. Iain lives in South Birmingham with his wife and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. They aren’t sure how many novels they’ve written together since 2011 but it’s a surprisingly large number.

 

Elf Story authors Iain and Heide by Pete C b+w

Blurb

Christmas is a time for families to come together.

Guin Roberts can’t think of anything worse than visiting a Christmas market with her new family. Guin is perfectly happy with own company and doesn’t want that disrupted by her wisecracking stepbrother and his touchy-feel mum.

Their Christmas celebrations are invaded by a sleigh full of murderous elves. And it doesn’t matter if they’ve been naughty or nice —these elves are out for blood.

Can the family band together to survive the night? Or will Santa’s little helpers make mincemeat of them all?

Elf Story cover

Extract

“Cuckoo clocks!” said Esther, arms spread.

“So, I see,” said Dave.

They pressed forward under the shallow eaves of the stall to avoid the briskly falling snow. The side walls and back of the stall were crowded with intricately carved clocks — chalet house shapes, covered with carved trees and fruits and animals, pine cone weights dangling on long chains beneath. On tiny balconies and in tiny doorways, varnished figures stood, some fixed, some poised to spring out at the chiming of the hour.

“I don’t like them,” said Dave.

“Why not?” said Esther.

“I don’t know. They always look … sinister to me.”

She looked up at him and smiled.

He kissed her on the forehead. “I look at them and all that super detailed carving and I think ‘that’s what happens when you’re cooped up all winter with snow piled outside your door and nowhere to go.’”

“Really?”

“Cabin fever as an art form.”

She shrugged. “I guess people did need something to keep them occupied through the winter months.”

He looked back the way they’d come. “They’ll be all right together?”

“Newton will keep an eye on her.”

“I’m more concerned about him,” said Dave. “No, I meant long term. Them. Us. A new life.”

Esther gave him a reassuring hug. “Taking it slow. Let’s see how Christmas goes, all four of us at your place. And if that works out…”

“Oh, crap.”

She pulled away. “You don’t want it to work out?”

Dave patted his coat pockets before putting a hand in each.

“What?” said Esther.

“Keys. Car keys.”

He took out his wallet to check the inside pocket. He looked inside the carrier bag of mulled wine.

“When did you last have them?” asked Esther.

“Definitely in the car.”

“Obviously.”

He shot her a tetchy took. “I had them at the car. I went into that pocket to buy pretzels and mulled wine. I might have…” He mimed a hand out of pocket action and then looked round as though the keys might magically be on the ground somewhere nearby.

“Maybe fallen out near one of those stalls,” she said. “Let’s go look.”

He held out his hands. “You stay here. The kids will come to you. I’ll go check.” He sighed. “Buggeration,” he said and hurried off.

Esther leaned close to the cuckoo clock stall as the snow came down in thick, tangled clumps. There was still virtually no wind but there had to be a point at which heavy snowfall automatically became a blizzard. Wherever that point was, surely they were close to it. She pulled her collar about her neck and continued to look at the range of clocks.

 “So, are all these clocks hand-carved?” she asked the old man behind the stall.

The old man grunted ambiguously. He was packing clocks away in wooden crates lined with straw. It was late; the fairground rides still turned and there were still people drinking and eating but this man had probably sold his last cuckoo clock of the year. And it was the last day of the Christmas market. Esther supposed the clocks that went unsold would resurface in this market or another next year.

“I just wondered,” she said. “They are very beautiful. Does someone carve them all?”

“Yes, yes,” he said and waved to the unseen space behind the stall. “All carved.”

He continued to pack clocks, spooling the weight chains in his hands before laying them flat. He moved sluggishly, failing to co-ordinate left hand and right.

“You make them back here?” said Esther. There was a narrow space between this stall and the next, little more than a crawlspace but, looking round, Esther could see a dim light and hear the sounds of industry.

“Yes, yes,” said the old man, waving. “All carved.”

“I mean, if you don’t mind me looking—”

The old man didn’t seem to care. She took a step towards the little cut-through. “I’ll just—” She slipped down the space. There was a surprising amount of room: the stalls weren’t arranged precisely back to back. A wide alley was laid out between them, covered over with sheltering canvas, in parts lit by an inferior sort of fairy light.

The sounds of construction came from the dim shanty town. There was almost no light here and Esther stepped carefully, waiting for her eyes to adjust. There were low tables — roughly made things — little more than split logs laid across trestles. Worn hand tools, too dark to make out clearly were strewn around.

Workers sat at the benches. She could not make them out properly, although they seemed happy enough in the near darkness. She guessed, purely from the sounds they made, there were three or four or them; no more than five. They must have been cramped: there couldn’t be room for more than two people to sit comfortably in that space. Suggestions of hands moved across their materials. A chisel glinted here, a saw there.

“Hello?” she said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt but the man said it was okay.”

The work stopped instantly.

“If you don’t mind,” said Esther.

Five pairs of eyes turned to regard her. Eyes set widely in round faces, far lower down than she expected.

The craftsmen — no, they were too small to be craftsmen — the individuals in the makeshift space behind the stalls watched Esther.

“Stinga henni með hníf

They were no bigger than children; small children at that.

“Do you work here?” she asked in her most gentle, mumsiest voice.


*And thus concludes the extract. I hope it whet your appetite to want to discover more.*

#Review of Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver – A Relevant, Gripping, Addictive Thriller for our times @Will_Carver @OrendaBooks #NothingImportantHappenedToday #BlogTour #Review #Thriller #Fiction

Nothing Happened Here Today
By Will Carver
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I am so excited to share my review of Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. This is one of the most relevant, exceptionally dark, yet beautifully written and gripping thrillers you will come across to read this year. Please do read further about the author and my review.

About the Author

Nothing Important Happened Today Will Carver 2Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series.
He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children.
Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the e-book charts.


Blurb

A shocking, mesmerizing original, pitch-black thriller, which, following the critically acclaimed Good Samaritans, confirms Will Carver as one of the most imaginative, innovative and exciting authors in crime fiction.

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

 

Nothing Important Cover (1)

Review

I will start by saying this is one of the most highly original and  dramatic books I have read. This book is relevant to today in every single way. Every part of it is believable, every part of it can be related to or recalled as some real events are mentioned. I give it a well-deserved full 5 star rating.

From the first page, I was hooked. My first thought was “Wow!” I will say, if you are suffering from depression, perhaps this is not the book for you, but for anyone else, this book is a fantastically gripping thriller. The prologue – oh my goodness, I’ve read some pretty good prologues in my time, but nothing like this. Read the prologue and also with the genius that is the fact, just prior to it, is who the book is for -“For nobody” is what it says, with that opening line “nobody cares…”

The sentence structure along with the words has grabbed me. The sentences are so sharp, feel so natural and the atmosphere, location and the scene is set. It is dark, but resembles a truth in many ways and even through the darkness, the way it is written is somehow quite beautiful. The descriptions are incredible. There is something weirdly, almost poetic and entrancing about them, that drives readers further and deeper into the events that ensue.

If you didn’t know what a cult was or how they end up being formed, you sure will after the first chapter.

The characters are grouped, numbered and have no actual name. It makes a thought-provoking statement. It’s also so different from so many other books. Keep with it. You will be able to follow the story. You will still understand what is happening. You will get to still know the characters and their lives as you delve deeper into “Nothing Important Happened Today”.

There’s the lovers desperately trying to find that spark pre-children. There is the ungrateful for whom nothing is ever enough, no matter how much of something they have, they want more and more and more. There’s the poet harbouring a lot of angst and deep, dark thoughts and dreams. There’s the doctor, who just wants to help others, she has no room in her life for anything else, that’s what she wants to do, even though she seems exhausted. There’s Nobody #1, the one who works in a library or you’ve perhaps noticed on the street etc. There’s Nobody #2 who is similar to other nobodies. There’s Nobody #3 who may have people who may miss him. There’s Young Levant who is seeing a psychiatrist.
Every single character could well be someone in reality, the types of people you’ve perhaps met or may meet in the future, just living life. This creates an incredible impact.
All those on the bridge could be anyone’s son, daughter etc and could be well-educated and in any profession or doing anything at all with their lives and still, stuff could happen. This is partly what makes this book important to read. This is showing people in story-form that the events and reasoning can be very real. Real names of companies and heads of them are used and people will remember or know of what happened in real life to some people, and yet this is a fictional thriller book. 
These are the people who have notes posted through their letter box. These are the people who end up being caught up in “The People of Choice”. There’s just a global need for there to be a connection of some sort and to belong.

There are police as well investigating what happened and there are witnesses from a train and you’ll need to read the book as to how they handle this grave situation.

As I read on, I am entranced and sort of fixated on what’s going to happen next. It is so hard to put the book down. It is a page-turner and is highly addictive. It had a hold on me. It is ok, I’m not about to follow what is actually occurring in this book), this is incredibly powerful writing from Will Carver. He knows what he is writing about and knows how to capture his readers.

This book isn’t just about cults, it addresses  society too. It tackles society and community ills and how community can so easily become something darker, even though the people within any community are just average people going about their daily lives, and bam!!! They can find themselves unexpectedly caught up in something, in this case an ideology, a cultish type of thing, before they know it. This is a brave book in many ways, as people will discover in its contents as they read it.  This book is so thought-provoking and hopefully many people will find that is the case too.

Look at the cult name – “The People of Choice”, Look at the characters. Look at the bridges. Read and think. See the clever irony. Question, did these people want to die, did they not? All of them strangers to each other, all of them died and yet “Nothing Important Happened Today”.  It’s slick, it’s at an amazing pace with short sentences and chapters.

All of the chapters are fabulous and amazing. They tackle so many issues and what can currently happen. It cleverly talks of millennials, parenting, social media and many issues that all arise in today’s society that everyone lives in, in some form or another.

This book, I just know will become my latest obsession to hope people will read.

This book is just amazing and powerful and gripping from start to finish. It’s a book of our time. It’s a book that could well linger with you, even when you’ve finished reading it. It’s left its mark. “Nothing Important Happened Today”.

Check out other reviews from this blog tour too.

nothing happened poster 2019 (4)

 

An Extract of new book – Violet by S.J.I Holliday Blog Tour @SJIHolliday #Violet @OrendaBooks #TrainNoir #Thriller #Extract #BlogTour #AnneCater #BlogTour

Violet
By S.J.I. Holliday

Today I am pleased and excited  to present an enticing extract that sets the scene of the thriller/train noir book Violet by S.J.I. Holliday. There is enough to give a bit of a taster to know that you are going to join in on a train journey, not just any train journey, an international adventure where you just know something isn’t going to be right and all will not be as it seems. Thanks to Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for organising this.

About the Author

Susi author photoS.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

Blurb

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticketon the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.
When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place. Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

Violet Jacket

 

Extract

Beijing

 1

I’m sitting alone on a concrete bench. Around me, people are swarming, shouting quickly in a language that I can’t understand. Above me, the sky is a thick powder blue, like dirty paintbrushes swirled in water. The smog is so dense I can taste it. Waves of panic wash over me as I try to inhale some fresh air, and I wonder how anyone can breathe in this city. What started out as an exciting, fun morning has rapidly declined into panic and frustration; and not for the first time, I regret leaving Sam behind in Bangkok.

There is something easy about that place, with the swarms of British backpackers and grinning Aussies, men on stag parties, cold beers and menus written in English. Even though Thailand is as far away from the English countryside as can be, there is a certain warmth. Familiarity. Despite all the stories you hear, I felt completely safe there. But then me and Sam had that stupid falling-out in the hotel lobby. I can’t even remember how it started.

And so here I am, sitting outside the Beijing international train station, no boyfriend, only half my luggage – since my rucksack went AWOL somewhere on the way to China – and still no ticket for the train I want, which leaves tomorrow morning. I could call Sam, beg for his forgiveness, ask him to follow me out here. But firstly, I know he doesn’t want to, and secondly, I’d only be doing it out of desperation. He got sucked in, in Thailand, didn’t want to follow the plan – my plan – loop back via China and the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow, before flying home from there. He’d gone into an Internet café and resigned from his job; he was getting more excited than I liked by the cheap beer and the hordes of stunning young women that seemed to flock to him on a daily basis. ‘I’d just like to hang about here a bit longer,’ he’d said. ‘Lighten up, sweetheart. You need to smoke some more weed.’

Idiot.

He’d changed since the group of German students arrived. There’d been a wild night. I’d felt uneasy, but he’d felt the opposite. ‘This is the kind of fun I came for,’ he said. To them, not me. I knew then that my Sam was gone. Was I angry? Not really. I just hope he stayed sober enough to do the appropriate checks on some of those beautiful ‘women’ that he and the German lads were spending so much time with.

Now I’m alone, in Beijing, a bustling metropolis of nearly twentytwo million people, feeling properly homesick for the first time in months. I did have fun yesterday, going for a proper Chinese tea ceremony with a young couple I’d met in the gardens near the Forbidden City. The tea had been ridiculously expensive, and I’d realised early on that it was a scam of some sort, but as scams go, it was pretty friendly. And I know more now than I ever thought I needed to about the many different kinds of Chinese tea.

This morning I was buzzing, ready for another full-on day, making sure I could fit in as many crispy duck pancakes as I could manage. All I had to do was pop down to the train station and buy my ticket. The station is huge, the guidebook said, but buying a ticket should be simple. Just make sure you go to the international section. When they said huge, I hadn’t quite realised what that meant. But while I sat outside, waiting for the sun to push its way through the everpresent smog – it didn’t, by the way – it dawned on me that small towns in China have five million inhabitants, and that huge really means the station is the size of Manchester, and after walking around the whole place for two hours, being jostled and stared at, pointed at, pointed out and misdirected for hours on end, what I realised was that foreigners can’t buy international tickets in the station after all; they have to go to a travel centre in some business hotel, streets away … and that I am so over this now. This so-called ‘adventure’.

And so I sat myself down on this concrete bench, and all I want to do now is cry. But that’s not going to get me anywhere. Certainly not to Moscow, which is where I really want to be. I need to move on. Find another companion for my trip. So I take a swig of water, then I pick up my backpack and head back into the throng.

 

 

violet tour poster 2019

Review of the captivating book – Nothing to Hide by James Oswald @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @headlinepg #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Bookreview #BlogTour #CrimeFiction #Thriller #NothingToHide

Nothing to Hide
By James Oswald
Rated: 5 stars *****

I was so excited and delighted when I received an invitation by Random Things to review the latest Constance Fairchild book – Nothing to Hide by James Oswald as part of a blog tour. The book did not disappoint and kept me engaged. Today I present my review on the first day of Scottish Book Week. For those of you not in Scotland, it is a hugely important event for books to be promoted, reading to be encouraged. There are events happening online and in libraries and other places that have lovely books. Support authors and these events if you can, everyone appreciates it when you do.

Nothing To Hide Blog tour Poster

About the Author

Nothing to Hide James OswaldJames Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two books, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes
disturbing fiction by night.

Website ~ http://jamesoswald.co.uk
Twitter ~ @SirBenfro

 

Blurb

Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain’s
wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has
other ideas . . .
Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated
and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide
investigation . . . It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks.
No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly
see the back of her, Con can’t shake her innate determination to bring the monsters
responsible for this brutality to justice.
Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has
everything to lose . . .

Review

Nothing To Hide CoverHaving the latest crime thriller by James Oswald in my hands to review was always, for me, going to be exciting. His writing lives up to all the hype that surrounds him. His writing is most definitely up there with Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.

The detective in this book is not McLean,  but Constance Fairchild, who is currently suspended from duty. It is as good as any McLean book. This is a new series from James Oswald.

Perthshire, Edinburgh, London; the book covers some ground when there are nationwide, killings, brutal murders that bear all the hallmarks of them being ritualistic.  So many lives are in danger and DI Constance Fairchild is not immune to this danger either.

Lady DC Constance Fairchild (not that she really uses Lady), is an interesting, strong character, who isn’t afraid of breaking a rule or two. The workforce doesn’t always like her and rib her for being posh and the press seem to almost hound her after her previous case. She is, whilst being suspended,  waiting to be able to testify at the trial of wealthy businessman Roger De Villiers and all seems like it’s going to be straightforward, but that doesn’t last as other events occur.

Out and about, members of  “The Church of the Coming Light”, part of the Danes Estate, is stumbled upon. It highlights some of the social deprivation here and that there are people trying to help. In this case it is people who are taking the drug most commonly known as Spice. I really like that it is highlighted that people can and do help to try to make things better, through charitable works. but it shouldn’t be necessary, indicating, quite rightly that lives ought to be better and ones with hope, not such despair. There does however seem something sinister about the group on first glance, plus the name indicates it isn’t going to be a mainstream church. Then there’s the odd Reverend, Doctor Edward Masters with his connections is high places. I then got very intrigued as to who Polly Cho is, who Stokes reckons Constance should talk to before he takes very unwell. Readers then really get to know what sort of people they are.
This sort of cultish world interests me, intrigues me, disturbs me and is something that still exists today in some form or another. All the ingredients are there that make it a “want to read book”. The tension that is built up is excellent.

It is interesting getting to know all the characters whom DC Fairchild is, one way or another, in contact with and it is interesting getting an insight into the workforce and their world.

I could not put this book down. I found myself being pulled further and further into getting to know the characters and also into the uneasiness of the killings and the sinister “church”. The book has a great mix of intrigue and familiarity of the surroundings. Even if you have not been to the UK before, it still will all make sense. The book is the second of the Constance Fairchild series, but can also be read as a stand-alone book as there is enough back-story to grasp onto, to catch up, if you’ve not read the first one. If you haven’t ever thought of reading James Oswald’s books, I recommend you give them a try. You just may find that you become hooked and if you’ve read his McLean books, then also try out this new exciting series from him. You won’t be left disappointed.

With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to the blog tour. Thanks to Wild Fire Books and Headline for sending a copy of the book. Thanks to James Oswald (who is active on Twitter).

Review of A Friend In Deed by G.D. Harper @harper_author #Review #BlogTour @matadorbooks #thriller #politicalthriller #crimefiction #fiction

A Friend In Deed
By G.D. Harper
Rated: 4 stars ****

 

Today, a little later than I had planned, I am pleased to present my review on the blog tour for A Friend In Deed by G.D. Harper.

A Friend in Deed Full Tour Banner

 

About the Author

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.

Social Media Links
Webpage www.gdharper.com

Facebook: @gdharperauthor

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/harper_author

Blurb

A Friend In Deed CoverBritain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.

Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government’s policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.

A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.

Review

The book gets off to a good start in the National Portrait Gallery, London, with the main character scrutinising famous Scottish actor Peter Capaldi in the exhibition titled “Celebrity”. It’s a pretty good place to start I reckon as I like the gallery and Peter Capaldi. I also like the description of Bill Nighy too and the way readers are taken through the gallery in general.

I can certainly relate to Duncan Jones feeling the need to finish his blog, even though it is late.

To begin with there’s the interest of a new political party – Act Now, journalism that sounds like is not doing so well for Duncan and the part of the team he is in, there is also new love with Tanya from Ukraine. There’s also a brief snippet of life before as he had a love of his life until tragedy struck. Duncan also goes under 2 aliases, one for his political blog and the other for his novels. Tanya also seems to live 2 different lives, one sort in London and another, darker, more dangerous sort in Russia.

The book has substance and feels so close to what is happening now in the world. It feels like quite a bit of thought has gone into this and also some foresight too, something that not everyone has, but G.D.Harper seems to. It does feel like it is set not in the too distant future.

The story has close truths about how technology can be chillingly misused. G.D. Harper has the atmosphere just right as it is one that is unsettling and so thought-provoking and plausible. There is also the new “Dissemination of Terrorism Act”, which adds even more to the increasingly frighteningly sinister political world that Harper has created.

The ending seemed a little bit quick in some ways, but it was good and the story of course, did have to conclude and it was, on the whole satisfying.

I do recommend this book. I recommend it so that people can see how close to what is written within the pages we actually are in today’s world and how today’s political parties are not too far off the Act Now party. It really does make one think.

Review of Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll @CazVinBooks @WriterJustinC #YA #Christmas #Adventure #Mystery #BlogTour #Review #Crossover

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans
by Justin Carroll
Rated: ****

I was pleased when Caroline Vincent approached me to be part of the blog tour for what turned out to be not only a delightful Christmas read, but also an adventurous detective story all rolled into one that will make a great bookish Christmas present for any 10 and YA reader. Today is my turn to review this book.

Hemlock Jones Blog Tour Poster (1)

About the Author

Hemlock Jones Justin Carroll Author ImageJustin Carroll is an author who balances his love of comic books and games with a passion for martial arts and musicals.

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, when not writing, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things.

Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards with “Careful What You Wish For” (Wyvern Publishing) and placed in the top twenty of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice.

December 2012 saw the birth of Justin Carroll’s first novel: Everything’s Cool – a dark, psychological thriller.

His second novel, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death, is a Young Adult novel and the first in a series featuring Hemlock Jones, the fiery 12-year-old demystifier whose brain easily equals and surpasses that of the famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death” won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Awards.

Now, Justin has published the second book in the Hemlock Jones Chronicles: Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans, perfect for all fans of 10 years and above of adventurous detective mysteries!

Blurb

When orphans vanish from their beds across Victorian London, twelve-year-old demystifier Hemlock Jones and her companion, Edward, take the case!

This time, the trail will lead them from their Baker Street home, along lost rivers and into the heart of the city, to face exotic enemies and a charming man with dark plans…

 Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans is the second of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, the award-winning series of detective adventures for children and adults.

Hemlock Jones The Underground Orphans book cover

Review

A children/YA story that is perfect for Christmas, It certainly isn’t fluffy. This is a quick paced mystery that will keep readers involved, but it is very much set around and during Christmas.

The cover is eye-catching and immediately spells out trepidation, action and adventure. I already started to have expectations of a good thrilling detective story. It takes place in the north of London, where readers will be transported back in time to workhouses and an orphanage, where readers meet Mr and Mrs Thicke who work there and have reported the disappearance of orphans. It already has a very Victorian air about the story.

Hemlock Jones, has a flat – 211B Baker Street – all very Sherlock Holmes, not a criticism, just got me thinking a lot about Sherlock Holmes, just slightly different number of address.

The story is intriguing and keeps a decent pace and the style of writing is what draws the imagination and desire to read further into the mysterious Victorian London, Justin has created, blending fact and fiction so well.
There’s adventure to be had and a mystery to solve, that takes Hemlock down a sewer. The atmosphere and the descriptions, such as beady eyes looking on are well done and in a way that sets the tone.

There may be pirates afoot and there’s mild trepidation as the orphan’s lives may be in danger. There’s some swashbuckling that bravely goes on. The pace by this time, I decided was terrific. The story just keeps moving on and the time (or pages), between the orphans going missing to readers actually “meeting them” is good, but not too fast that anything is missed. There is the journey above to under London to find them.

There is some welcome humour within the book as Hemlock Jones and her associate try to decide just who the pirates are and if indeed they are and there is quite a mystery surrounding this.

Whether above or below ground within the story, the geography for setting each scene is great and well-written, but still keeping up the pace of the mystery.

The elements of the story that don’t involve the mystery, such as Christmas Day is just as well-written. Christmas Day sounds delightful. The story keeps moving onwards with a mysterious interruption to proceedings and a concern that it could be due to N – their nemeses.

All in all, it is a good story, fairly reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan-Doyle’s stories, which I hope one day the readers will venture into as well, but it sits pretty well in the detective genre and it feels right for the era it is set in. Hemlock Jones sits somewhere nicely in-between those 2 famous authors works and sits well for the aged 10 plus YA age groups and is a good series for readers to get stuck into and explore London and follow the main characters to see if they can solve the mystery and find out who the pirates are and what happens to the orphans.

The conclusion is great and keep reading onto the epilogue because there is more to this mystery than meets the eye as it isn’t just about the missing orphans. There’s more to be solved and to discover that, there is another book too, just waiting to be read.

I recommend this book. It will sit well within the reading for pleasure trend and will make a lovely Christmas present for all genders.

Author website:         www.justin-carroll.com/

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